Last year when I heard that Ruth Reichl (former editor of Gourmet Magazine) wrote her first fiction book aptly titled, DELICIOUS! I immediately added it to my to-be-read shelf and waited for its release date.
She ended up having a reading at the independent bookstore close to my home and I arrived early and then joined the crowds on a warm Pasadena night to hear her read and have my book signed.
Surprisingly, when I came home, I read a few pages, but then placed my autographed copy of Delicious! on my bookshelf — where it has sat for the last year.
I just didn’t feel ready to read it yet, and now I think it’s because of all the chatter at the time of her release and how it had been given the unpopular branding of “fluff” “chick lit” “summer/light reading” which, isn’t a compliment in the literary community.
The New York Times, where she worked as a highly popular and well-respected food critic for years gave her new book such a harsh review I had to wonder what she had done to her former co-worker to receive such a lashing.
Here’s a taste:
“Ms. Reichl’s novel, however, is strictly kid stuff. It’s a gauzy ode to the liberating virtues of pleasure, glazed with warmth and uplift, so feebly written and idea free that it will make you wonder if the energy we’ve been putting into food these last few decades hasn’t made us each lose, on average, a dozen I.Q. points.” – New York Times, May 6, 2014
Pretty rough, right?
So, I let the book sit and I’d pass it everyday and stare at its beautiful book binder that said Delicious! in swirly letters and I knew that when I was ready, I’d try again. And so almost a year later, I did. Over the weekend, I pulled it from my bookshelf and devoured it in a few days. It was lovely, smart, well-researched, thoughtful and a wonderful premise. It was a happily-ever-after kinda book and that’s OK. It’s more than OK, it’s what she wanted to write and that’s the beauty of books.
And so for a few days, I lived inside of a gorgeous historical mansion where I was a writer, I worked at a cheese shop, read old letters by James Beard and got to witness the journey of a woman who needed to find herself and fall in love.
If you love great writing and good food, Delicious! is the perfect entree!